Rocket company SpaceX is set to break its own record for the most rocket launches in a calendar year this week.
Elon Musk’s company made 31 successful launches in 2021 and has already tied that record this year with its latest launch last Sunday.
A Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to deliver another batch of Starlink broadband satellites to low Earth orbit on Thursday, making it the 32nd launch this year.
If SpaceX continues at this rate, it’s on track to complete more than 50 launches this year, as it currently averages more than one launch per week.
The Falcon 9’s record launch will take place on July 21 at 6:13 p.m. BST (1:13 p.m. EDT), according to NextSpaceFlight.com, and will be streamed live on SpaceX’s YouTube channel.
Elon Musk’s company made 31 successful launches in 2021 and tied that record for this year last Sunday. Earlier this month it was the 100th time he had flown the Falcon 9 again
SpaceX is set to break the record for the most rocket launches in a calendar year on Thursday
WHAT ARE STARLINK SATELLITES?
Elon Musk’s SpaceX has launched more than 2,000 of its “Starlink” space internet satellites into orbit and hopes to have 12,000 in the sky by 2026.
They form a constellation designed to provide low-cost, high-speed Internet service from low Earth orbit.
Although satellite internet has been around for a while, it has suffered from high latency and unreliable connections.
Starlink is different. SpaceX has said its goal is to deliver high-speed, cable-like internet anywhere in the world.
Musk has previously said the company could give three billion people who currently don’t have internet access an inexpensive way to get online.
It could also help fund a future city on Mars.
The latest launch, on July 17, saw the Falcon 9 rocket lift off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, US, with 53 Starlink satellites on board.
Just nine minutes after liftoff, Falcon 9’s first stage returned to Earth, using two brakes to slow it down.
He then landed on a drone ship, named “Just Read the Instructions”, which was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.
A Tweeter from SpaceX revealed that the 53 flat-packed Starlink Broadband Relay Stations were deployed from the upper stage of the Falcon 9 just 15.5 minutes after liftoff.
In a mission description, SpaceX said: ‘This was the 13th flight of the Falcon 9 first stage booster supporting this mission, which previously launched Dragon’s first crewed demonstration mission, the RADARSAT Constellation Mission, SXM -7, and now 10 Starlink missions.
SpaceX has launched more than 2,800 Starlink satellites into low Earth orbit to date and has obtained authorization for more than 9,000 more.
The Starlink network has over 400,000 subscribers worldwide and currently costs $110 per month with a one-time equipment fee of $599.
The space engineering company has requested permission to launch 30,000 more satellites on top of that, to create a “megaconstellation”.
But NASA said dotting low Earth orbit with so many satellites could “impact science and human spaceflight missions”.
He also warned that the move could lead to a “significant increase” in collisions.
The ability to reuse the first stage of its rockets helps SpaceX lower the cost per launch and makes them competitive with older companies
Falcon 9 is a reusable two-stage rocket that has proven effective and safe in transporting people and payloads to Earth orbit and beyond.
July 7 was the 100th time he flew a Falcon 9 rocket again.
The rocket’s nine Merlin engines release 1.7 million pounds of thrust during liftoff, helping the craft navigate its way to its destination in space.
The ability to reuse the first stage of its Falcon 9 rockets helps SpaceX lower the cost per launch and makes it highly competitive with older companies.
It’s also part of Musk’s plan to colonize Mars — once SpaceX masters rocket reuse, it can start sending multiple rockets to Mars and Earth.
Musk plans to use the company’s massive Starship rockets to ferry humans to and from the Red Planet.
SpaceX announced Wednesday that Starship 24, or Ship 24, is now standing upright on the suborbital launch pad at its test facility in Boca China, Texas.
The move is “in preparation for Starship’s first orbital flight test,” SpaceX shared in a tweet, suggesting the massive rocket could lift off this month.
SpaceX announced Wednesday that Starship 24 is now on the suborbital launch pad at its test facility in Boca China, Texas. The move is “in preparation for Starship’s first orbital flight test,” SpaceX shared in a tweet, suggesting the massive rocket could lift off this month.
Elon Musk’s Starlink offers internet for YACHTS and other huge ships at $5,000 a month
SpaceX is extending its Starlink internet service to oceans, rivers and lakes – at a steep cost.
Starlink Maritime is now available and the company is targeting owners of superyachts, oil rigs and merchant vessels as potential customers.
The service has an upfront hardware fee of $10,000 for two “reinforced” Starlink dishes and regular costs will be $5,000 per month.
In comparison, space internet costs $110 per month with a one-time equipment charge of $599 for residential customers; it is also available for companies and motorhomes.
Learn more here
SpaceX predicts maritime performance speeds of 100-350 Mbps down and 20-40 Mbps up. Pictured is one of its satellites strapped to a boat